Dishonest Developers, Half Complete Projects, Defects? How do you ensure you don’t get caught?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of negativity about the Australian property industry at present. National news on building defects, loss of deposits and dodgy property developers have all contributed to an environment where a buyer can very reasonably be simply scared away from buying new property.

I have been fortunate to work in the property industry for over 25 years, and thankfully the vast majority of property developers I have worked with (which measures in the hundreds if not thousands) are ethical, honest and genuinely committed to the success of their projects. In my view, most property developers are natural entrepreneurs who have a deep and intimate association with the buildings that they develop. It’s the “hi kids – I built that building” type of pride. Sure, they are running a business and have profit motives, but in my experience most manage to balance the profit motives with an overarching goal to deliver a project that they and their team can be proud of.

Now some people will tell me that apartments are too small now, the build finishes not as good as they used to be and so on. Let’s not be so naive that we think as a society that every new project brought to market has to be $2M+ and built for retiring baby boomers, and hence of the highest build standard. Property Developers need to build homes for the full cross section of our community. From first home buyers, investors, retiree’s and yes, wealthy baby boomers and others. They would be failing our community at large in fact if we did not have a full cross-section of new homes coming to market. Every day we hear of the housing affordability issues we have in Australia, so quite rightly a section of the industry is trying to produce affordable housing. Naturally, the pressure to drive down the cost of an affordable home will result in a lower overall quality of building.

I am not suggesting for a minute that we should accept substantial defects notwithstanding the cost of a new home. I simply make the point that with the pressure to make new homes more affordable, construction techniques, materials and overall finish will inevitably suffer. Quality property developers know this, accommodate for this, and will deliver new homes at an affordable price at an acceptable standard – and just as importantly, work with a buyer to fix any deficiencies

So how do you know when you are buying new that the property developer of your new home or apartment is one of the ethical and committed ones that deliver a quality product, will fix defects if they arise, and won’t disappear into the night with your deposit?

There is no better judge of this question than previous buyers. They have lived and breathed this process with a developer so we are turning to buyers for the true insights into how property developers perform. We are calling it Buyer Insights and each month we will interview buyers for their feedback on purchasing and how they rate the experience with the property developer of their new home.

Stay tuned for the first edition of Buyer Insights to be released later this week.

Written: 13 September 2019, Updated: 16 January 2020

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